What is discernment? No less than reconciling our hearts and minds with those of our God in Christ. Which, when you think about it, is pretty awesome work to do. When it comes to helping form leaders for the church in a secularizing time, discernment is always the big D.

This morning we hosted our second Discernment Information Gathering at St. Paul’s Commons, Echo Park, organized by the DIG team under the leadership of the Rev. Lyn Cunningham Crow and Cameron Moorhead Johnson, co-chairs of the Commission on Ministry. In attendance were 40 of our fellow discerners, including potential lay and ordained leaders and those who support them. After some plenary work, they spent the afternoon in breakout sessions on subject such as chaplaincy, theological education, the ordination process, spiritual direction, and lay licensing.

I was along to say a few words of thanksgiving and greeting and then urge everyone to DIG deep. “The church is at its best when everyone in it strives to love people the way God does,” I said. “Love them across chasms of difference and diversity, which is why those called to leadership will hear their discernment partners urging them to learn a language other English used in our diocese. Love them for their precious and unique narratives. Love them because all people reveal something of God … because they are all indispensable to the fulfillment of God’s purposes.”

As the conference got underway, The Episcopal Church’s former presiding bishop, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, and I passed on the stairs. She’s back in town to serve on a panel this afternoon at Saint George’s Episcopal Church in Laguna Hills exploring the new film about the Philadelphia 11, our courageous, pioneering women priests in 1974, and to preside and preach Sunday morning at St. James’ in the City Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. It’s easy to discern that Bishop Katharine’s gracious ministry in our diocese is a gift direct from the heart of God.